Below are summaries of several laws recently passed by the New Jersey Legislature that impact health care providers, including a law requiring health care providers to wear certain kinds of name tags. These additional requirements come at a time when New Jersey’s providers are providing continued crucial care in response to the pandemic and experiencing significant financial strain caused by the pandemic.
New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act
The New Jersey legislature passed the New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act (the “Act”) (A4143/S2465). The Act requires any advertisement for a health care professional licensed or certified to practice under State law to include the type of licensure the professional was issued. Under the Act, the term “advertisement” is defined as being “any communication or statement that is directly controlled or administered by a health care professional or a health care professional’s office personnel, whether printed, electronic or oral, that names the health care professional in relation to his or her practice, profession, or institution in which the individual is employed, volunteers or otherwise provides health care services.” Moreover, under the Act, the term advertisement includes “business cards, letterhead, patient brochures, e-mail, Internet, audio and video, and any other communication or statement used in the course of business or where the health care professional is utilizing a professional degree or license to influence opinion or infer expertise in a health care topic.” Nevertheless, under the Act, the term advertisement does not include “office building placards or exterior building signage.”
The Act requires a health care professional, when providing in-person care, to communicate the specific professional license and professional degree he or she holds. To that end, the Act requires that information to be communicated through a name tag or embroidered identification. If a health care professional is providing direct patient care at a hospital, the professional also must wear a recent photograph, unless otherwise directed by hospital administrators.
Long-Term Care Facilities and Hospitals Must Stockpile Personal Protective Equipment
The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A4282 and A4150/S2566 and S2677) that specifically requires long-term care facilities and hospitals to make a good faith effort to maintain a stockpile of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) necessary to meet the facility’s needs for such equipment for the following durations: (i) 30 days in the case of a facility that is part of a health care system that owns or operates eight or more facilities; (ii) 60 days in the case of a facility that is part of a health care system that owns or operates fewer than eight facilities; and (iii) 90 days in the case of a general acute care hospital.
The bill provides that in determining the quantity of PPE, the facility or hospital is to: (i) take into account prevailing conditions in the state that may affect the need for and availability of PPE; and (ii) take into account anticipated surges over the next 90 days. The facilities should utilize any burn rate calculator or other tool as the Department of Health may designate for use in determining the anticipated need for PPE.
Finally, the bill provides that facilities and hospitals will be required to immediately reevaluate the adequacy of their stockpile of PPE upon any declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor or a public health emergency pursuant to P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13‑1 et seq.) in response to an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic involving an infectious disease, and acquire additional supplies of PPE as are necessary to meet increases in the need for and use of PPE during the state of emergency or public health emergency.
Governor Vetoes Bill Providing Extra Dollars to Long-Term Care Facilities
In our October 2, 2020 Health Care Update, we noted that the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A4479/S2788) that provides supplemental payments to long-term care facility staff providing direct care services during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Governor recently vetoed the bill because of budget issues.
The New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Revising Requirements for Health Care Service Firms to Report Financial Information to the Division of Consumer Affairs
On October 29, 2020, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A2140/S848) revising requirements for health care service firms to report financial information to the Division of Consumer Affairs. Under the bill, health care services are defined as being “any services rendered for the purpose of maintaining or restoring an individual's physical or mental health or any health-related services, and for which a license or certification is required as a pre‑condition to the rendering of such services.”
Current state law requires all health care service firms to complete annual audits, which are to be submitted to the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety (the “Director”) every three years. Under this new bill, all health care service firms will be required to submit financial statements prepared by the firm to the Director, which statements are to be consistent with the firm’s tax filings with the State. Moreover, under the new bill, any health care service firm that receives more than $250,000 for the provision of New Jersey Medicaid Personal Care Assistance services will continue to be subject to the current annual audit requirement, and health care service firms that generate $10 million or more in gross revenue in a year will be required to submit an audit for that year. Finally, health care service firms with gross revenue for the year that is between $1 million and $10 million, and which receive less than $250,000 for the provision of New Jersey Medicaid Personal Care Assistance services, will, in lieu of an audit, be required to submit a report for that year to the Director that is prepared by an independent third‑party practitioner based on a review of the health care service firm’s financial statements and records, general management, and internal controls.
The New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Amending Training Requirements for Psychologists
The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A543/S2582) that amends the training requirements for licensed psychologists in the state. First, current State law requires two years of professional employment for an applicant to qualify for licensure from the State Board of Psychological Examiners (the “Board”). The new bill replaces the term “employment” with “experience” to account and reflect for professional opportunities which may not have entailed employment. Second, current State law requires at least one year of the professional employment to be completed after receiving a doctoral degree. The new bill allows for the two years of experience to be completed prior to receiving the requisite doctoral degree. Finally, the bill also provides that an applicant who has applied to the Board, but is not yet licensed, may update the application for licensure with professional experience earned prior to the applicant receiving a doctoral degree.
The New Jersey Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Certain Provisions in State Contracts for Delivery of Publicly‑Financed Mental Health, Behavioral Health, and Addiction Services
On October 29, 2020, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A4446/S2708) requiring certain provisions in State contracts for delivery of publicly‑financed mental health, behavioral health, and addiction services. The bill requires that any contract entered into or renewed by the Department of Human Services or the Department of Children and Families with a private contractor for the provision of mental health, behavioral health, or addiction services will contain a commitment that the contracted services will not be disrupted or delayed by labor disputes. The commitment may be satisfied by: (i) an agreement between the contractor and any exclusive representative labor organization representing the employees performing the contracted services that contains a provision prohibiting economic or industrial action on the part of all parties and includes a process for the resolution of disputes between them; (ii) an agreement between the contractor and any labor organization seeking to represent the employees performing the contracted services that includes a provision prohibiting the parties from causing, promoting, or encouraging economic, industrial, or other disruptive activity on the part of the contractor or employees performing services under the contract, and includes a procedure for resolution of disputes between parties; or (iii) any other agreement or binding obligation to be maintained through the term of the contract that provides a comparable commitment as paragraphs (i) or (ii). The bill provides the departments the opportunity to discover prior disruptions in service from contractors and a means to address any disputes through the State Treasurer. Additionally, the bill temporarily requires State contracts to contain a COVID‑19 containment and mitigation commitment. The section allows for additional protections concerning COVID‑19 in such contracts or a review of past failures to implement appropriate COVID‑19 safety guidelines.